The opening is earthy-rooty-dirty with a gasoline-like vibe thrown into the mix; it takes me to a construction site with freshly turned earth and running diesel engines. As time wears on it mellows out to a much less controversial woody resins and cool mineralic amber.
There is no way AMBRAREM will appeal to the average fragrance user who usually decides at first sniff. Even seasoned noses will take a beating from this. While it makes for an interesting sample, in the final analysis, is the projected scent or worn fragrance worth the nightmarish opening? NO. At least not to my nose. And that is why I can only give this a thumbs down.
The trio of -m Editions rares seems to me a brutalist experiment to marry disturbing, bilge notes a la Secretions Magnifiques to the classical, rich style of the HdP house. Much as I admire the conceptual experiment, I am hypersensitive to these notes, so, as alfarom pointed out, I find Ambrarem horrifying. It is the scariest of the trio. The metallic bilge note is amplified by the strong pepper in the top, resulting in a monster of uncommon evil. Besides, I feel that the bilge note has no relation whatsoever with the rest of the composition, a classical smooth amber, which gives the effect of a light oriental scent being brutalized by an attack of decaying zombies. In this sense, Petroleum, which is perhaps even stronger, smells less evil, as the bilge note doesn't feel out of place with the rest of the composition. But Ambrarem joins the undistinguished company of M/Mink and Tirrenico as the symbol of the unchecked, full power of these powerful, synthetic materials.
I know I am going to take a beating on this, as Ambrarem is getting near universal love here on Basenotes, but I don't like it. I get almost nothing in the way of its listed top notes, instead it almost immediately gets to the Oud and amber combo, and it is quite sweet and cloying. There must be some vanilla or other "sweetener" in here, because this is one of the sweetest ambers I have encountered, and I do not like sweet ambers at all. There is also a not too subtle petroleum vibe going on, but unlike Pétroleum from the same company where it works brilliantly, in Ambrarem it comes off as annoying. Castoreum rounds out the notes I can detect, and it is a pretty strong dose at that. Sillage and longevity are unfortunately superb.
What can I say? Ambrarem is just not for me and I will have to respectfully disagree with the majority that love it. Try and smell it for yourself and make up your own mind. Not recommended, unless you absolutely love sickeningly sweet animalic amber/Oud combos. 1.5 stars out of 5.
25th March, 2012 (last edited: 21st December, 2012)